Sunday, April 09, 2006

Resurrecting Resurrection

So this is supposed to be the time of the year that we observe the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, right? This is supposed to be something very meaningful… very sacred... very holy. Right?

But truth be told, these words -- crucifixion and resurrection -- well, these words are just a shade better than meaningless to me... Such esoteric terminology... I mean, I kind of understand what the words mean -- in that I understand the technical definitions of them, and I know that the one is supposed to be bad and the other is supposed to be good… But this is really not so different from the way in which I understand things like "taking out a second mortgage" or "rebuilding an automotive engine" or "going in for a root canal" or "rolling over a 401(k) plan" or "digitally remastering"... These catch-phrases have slightly positive or negative connotations, and certainly there are some people who fully grasp the meaning of such utterances. But (let's be honest) I am not among these some. My head may be nodding -- as if I'm very wise and "with it" -- while my broker talks about the fiscal advantages of some new tax ruling, or while the guy at the bicycle repair shop explains what needs to be done to get my Batavus back on the road again... But inside my head, everything is reduced to the level of "Hmm, that sounds sort of good" or "Hmm, that sounds sort of bad" and "How much is this going to cost me?" And as ashamed as I may be to confess incompetance in the areas of business or mechanics (or dentistry or technology)... I'm even more ashamed to confess my general lack of appreciation for the basic foundations of the Christian faith -- that is, the crucifixion and the resurrection -- which define my career, my family, and my character.

So you see, I'm stuck in the crossfires of clichés, where crucifixion and resurrection are not such meaningful words to me. They have been emasculated -- stripped of their power and purpose. We might as well talk about Jesus going in for a root canal and taking out a second mortgage three days later.

This week, I want to recapture the meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection.

I want to feel the story of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection on a visceral level. Yes, I want to bask in the beauty of the miraculous events of the "Holy Week" -- but I want my guts to be twisted in the process. I want to feel the horror, the embarrassment, the pain, the incredulity, the euphoria of those final days and hours in Jerusalem... The story of the crucifixion and resurrection are definitely dramatic, but it's also disturbing at times, too. Of course, living out the realities of the crucifixion and resurrection as a follower of Jesus would have been revolutionary -- but it would have also been revolting. Think about it... a maimed Messiah hanging from the Roman cross in public humiliation, spit and vomit and blood everywhere, a corpse revived... definitely revolutionary, and definitely revolting. The sense of victory over sin and death would have surely been sublime, but wouldn't it have been a bit surreal, too? Surprising, but also shocking. Miraculous, but also macabre. Glorious, but also grotesque. Inspiring, but also intimidating.

In the coming "Holy Week," we've got a lot to think about. Yes, we need to commemorate the crucifixion. And yes, we need to remember the resurrection. But before we can do this, we must crucify our preconceived notions of crucifixion. And resurrect resurrection.


At 9:35 AM, Blogger Krista Davis said...

Eric, wow. thanks for your thoughts- here in poland the idea of the resurrection seems so tainted by the imagery of a helpless christ hanging on the cross of left dead in the grave...

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Linda Kitchen said...

I trust the Lord will meet your request and desire to have a deep connection and understanding with His death and resurrection as we celebrate the Holy Week.
If you're interested I have an audio tape with 20 minutes of amazing music (4 different songs) that "tell the story"... it's compelling. Be blessed, brother!


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